Seeking tips for navigating the Mac Mail application

macOS & Mac Apps

Hi there. I may be being as think as an ostrich omelette but I'm having problems with mail. How do you get directly to the message once you've opened it? I have to clatter around headers and buttons and what not, interacting and so on. Sure surely there is an easy way just to open a message, look at it and click a link in there with out having to do the vo shift down all the time... I'm obviously doing something wrong because it's just messy. Thanks for any help.



Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, September 5, 2015

Hi. What version are you running? I ask because there's been an issue reported with Mail in version 10.10.3 where messages often times don't read properly with VoiceOver. Apparently this has been fixed though in 10.10.4 , but I have been unable to verify this because I'm having an issue with not enough hard-disk space.

Submitted by mehgcap on Saturday, September 5, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

This also depends on how you normally read messages. If you have the Preview Pane open (as it is bey default), you can just press vo-j from the messages able to go to the message, then vo-j again to return to the table. If you're pressing enter, VO should land on a text field holding the email content. Sometimes, it lands on a scroll area which contains the content, and that can be slightly more verbose, but the message still reads. Either way, just press enter (optionally press vo-a to speed up reading) and you should be all set. If it simply won't work, try closing the message with cmd-w, then opening it again.

Submitted by Usman on Saturday, September 5, 2015

One of the major issues I have with mail is clicking on links. I cannot find the most efficient way of doing this. Sometimes by hitting return on it, the link opens in safari but this doesn't always work. I can VO shift m on the link and open it in safari that way, but this option also doesn't always work. For instance, I tried this not 10 minutes ago and the only useful thing I found was copy link and thats it. No open link in safari. is there a easier way of doing this?

Submitted by mehgcap on Saturday, September 5, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Using vo-command-l in the message will move you from link to link (though it can sometimes get suck; navigation like this in mail messages has long been a problem). Once on a link, vo-space to open it. If nothing happens, interact with the text and use arrow keys to put focus on the link, then try opening it again with vo-space. If nothing works, just close and re-open the message, and try again. Plus, be sure to email Apple Accessibility and remind them of this problem.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, September 5, 2015

This is fantastic. Thanks so much. It's always been something I've been fiddling around at. Sadly it's not very intuitive. The VO J works really well and seems to move the focus to the links too... so just using the normal directional keys i can select the link and hit vo space. This is going to say me so much time.

I'm sure there is an area on here for tutorials and FAQs for in built apps, maybe could make it a little more present on the front page so people like me don't have to pester people like you.

That's not a criticism by the way, this site has been invaluable to me and everyone who comes to it.

Also, thanks whoever sorted out the title of this thread, simply 'mail' was rather ominous and obtuse.

That's great, I'll seek those out next time. Age old problem of the inability to scan if blind, but also my terrible sense of urgency. Thanks so much.